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Member since: Mon Nov 29, 2004, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 9,463

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This really uplifting thing happpened this week...

I am in a community choir, and this week we sang at an outdoor square with a giant Christmas tree. As we were assembling, a little boy about 4 and a little girl about 3 who were in the group of people milling around came and stood with us just in front of me. When it became clear we were going to sing, their dad apologized and said he didn't know they were crashing a performance. I and the other choir members close to them told him no problem; we're very inclusive, and they were most welcome.

None of the songs were traditional Christmas songs; they were all songs we'd learned this term, so the kids didn't know the songs. I was right behind them and kept leaning over to sneak looks at them. They were singing right along with us, following the choir director like they'd been doing it all their lives. Granted, they were mostly simple songs with a fair amount of repetition, but still! I was amazed at how quickly they picked up the lyrics and figured out where to stop and start. It was like they'd been in the choir the whole term.

They were confident, fearless and seemed to feel like they absolutely belonged there. I was so glad that their dad let them participate. It was the sweetest thing and uplifted everyone, both the choir and the onlookers. There is so much good in the world, and it can be easy to overlook in the these times. I make a deliberate attempt to find it and share it wherever I can. I wanted to share this today with you all in hopes it will bring a smile to your face as well.

10 year old drag kid Desmond's sage advice to LGBTQ youth for navigating politics & homophobia

At 10 years old, Desmond is already an icon in his own right. He’s captured the adoration of fans, including reigning RuPaul’s Drag Race queen Sasha Velour, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s Tituss Burgess and even RuPaul himself, who had Desmond cut the ribbon at this year’s inaugural RuPaul’s DragCon in New York City.

Fierce in a way many queens twice his age have yet to harness, we knew we wanted to have the pint-sized “dragutante” back at our offices after first hosting Desmond earlier this year when he schooled us with advice on being yourself.

This go-round, with the holidays fast approaching, we thought it would be the perfect time to get some more advice, this time with a focus on LGTBQ youth, many of whom are getting ready to head home for the holidays to households that can be anywhere from uninviting to downright hostile.

“Desmond and I were talking about outfits last night and thinking maybe an ice queen/snow queen look and maybe a red look with holly,” Desmond’s mother Wendylou told us over email when were preparing for the shoot. “He was looking at Vogue holiday editorials and really wants to go that route... very much glamour, opposed to ‘cute’ holiday.”

Check out Desmond’s advice below — including what to do if Donald Trump is mentioned at the holiday dinner table:


Sam Bee: Full Frontal Parody of "The Matrix" Highlights Voting Vulnerability

Got the email below the video clip from Verified Voting. Sign up for their email list if you haven't; they do great work! https://www.verifiedvoting.org

Great parody of The Matrix on voting systems vulnerability from Sam Bee. From November, but well worth watching and very clever.

TBS’ Full Frontal Parody of ‘The Matrix’ Highlights Voting Vulnerability

It’s been eighteen years since we dodged those slo-mo bullets with Keanu Reeves, but when it comes to our election systems, the question still stands...
Will we pop the red pill, ignoring the security threats that face our elections?

Or will we swallow the blue pill, to face and fix our matrix of electoral insanity?
Samantha Bee wants to Neo.

In Full Frontal’s parody, she interviews cyber security researcher Logan Lamb (Morpheus) who, having hacked into one of Georgia’s voting machines --run by Kennesaw State University--declares them “hilariously” insecure. And he’s not sheepish about sharing his findings: Did you know that a 4-digit PIN code is all that stands between a hacker and our democracy?

You do now, thanks to busy Sam Bee.

She also speaks with Donna Curling and Donna Price (collectively, the Oracle), two local advocates, who are pushing for a return to voter marked paper ballots. We vote for that!

As you may know, Verified Voting has a long history with The Donnas, going all the way back to 2005. Disturbed by the Diebold voting machines taking over polling places after the passage of the Help America Vote Act, the Donnas fought tirelessly in Georgia, trying to push local legislators for more secure voting practices. Meanwhile, Ohio, Florida, California, Maryland and other states cleaned up their poll acts--the Diebolds were poleaxed--but Georgia resisted.

After finding only pits in Peach State politics, the Donnas retreated for a while, until Logan Lamb’s sacrificial hack showed us just how big Kennesaw State’s digital hole was. This has re-animated the Donnas, who have been agitating valiantly ever since.
As you know, this topic is serious; our democracy hangs in the balance. But Sam Bee, cracking jokes in black latex, may just sting us into consciousness.

So please, please, swallow the blue pill. Donate to Verified Voting today to keep America’s elections safe and fair.

And share this clip!

Best Regards,
The Verified Voting Team
PS - We were thrilled when Full Frontal producers reached out to us to get our perspective regarding election systems for this segment. If you're interested in learning more too, check out The Verifier to see how your home state stacks up and the areas around the country in vital need of securing!

Portland neurosurgeon on way to Seattle aids victims at scene of Amtrak derailment. Inspiring.

Something inspiring. This neurosurgeon just happened to be close to the scene and was able to help:

On the way to a shopping trip in Seattle, a Portland neurosurgeon helped two dozen people -- as young as a baby and up into their 80s -- involved in the Amtrak derailment Monday morning that killed at least three people south of Seattle.

Dr. Nate Selden, chair of neurological surgery, and director of the neurological surgery residency program at Oregon Health & Science University, was driving to Seattle from Portland on Monday morning with his 18-year-old son. The two were several miles south of the derailment in Washington when the incident happened.

When traffic slowed, they looked on their phones trying to figure out what was happening. Selden said they knew something was very wrong when his son noticed there was no traffic heading south. "In the last few minutes before we got there we saw dozens upon dozens of first responders," Seldon said over the phone Monday.

When they arrived at the scene, around 8 a.m., Selden said he and his son were two of hundreds trying to help survivors.

"These train cars were just littered across the highway," Selden said. Quickly, he began helping first responders already on the scene triage victims. "They didn't have tents up yet. They set the tents up around us as we were working."

Selden worked with EMTs, firefighters and other medical professionals who had happened upon the scene to do first aid and assess the status of each victim. One of the people he was working alongside was a nurse from a small local hospital. While they were triaging victims, he said the nurse was called into work to help with the influx of patients from the accident. He said she told the hospital she was on the scene already and kept working.

Selden said he saw around 25 people in the just over two hours that he was working at the scene. While most of the people on the train seemed to be business travelers, he said the youngest patient he saw was an infant that had been thrown from its mother's arm during the first impact of the derailment.

"Dad caught them before the second impact," he said. "This little infant appeared completely unharmed," Selden continued, calling that incident "one few moments of joy in that devastating scene."


Selden said that while he has always respected first responders, he was amazed at how quickly and professionally they worked on such a devastating scene.
"I certainly have additional respect after seeing them in the field today," he said.
"We should be very grateful as citizens," he added, "that they are there, ready to go."

More at link:

Rachel tonight is 4 former US attys answering audience questions about Russia/Mueller/Flynn

etc. She started out with Schiff statement about Rs trying to shut down investigation and a lot of other Russia / FBI stuff. Sounds like this will be the whole show. It's really good.

Edited to add Trey Gowdy said that Andrew McCabe will probably be fired by next week.
I have to leave soon so can't update but maybe others can add.

Rachel just said exit polls always wrong & tend to favor Dems. They didn't start being wrong until

the 2004 presidential election. Prior to that, they were considered the gold standard for predicting election results. The fact that exit polls don't match results does not mean that exit polls suddenly became wrong. So in Alabama, we have exit polls showing much higher than predicted African AMerican turnout, and lots of voter suppression and them being given provisional ballots after being told they are missing from the registration list. Favorite trick of Rs. Those provisional ballots end up being trashed.

The right question is why do the results not match the exit polls?

GOP Sen. Cassidy: Democrat Al Franken 'was clearly drummed out' without due process

When a GOP senator is calling the processs a kangaroo court...


Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy is drawing a distinction between sexual assault accusations against conservative Roy Moore and liberal Al Franken.

"I can't get inside Al Franken's mind but he was clearly drummed out. He did not have to quit" the Senate, Cassidy told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Monday. "There was not due process. Whatever you think about it, you have to have due process in our country. You can't have kangaroo courts. You have to allow people to be presented with evidence to refute it."

But that said, Cassidy last month withdrew his support of Moore, 70, the Republican candidate running against Democrat Doug Jones in Tuesday's special election to fill Alabama's open Senate seat.


Cassidy of Louisiana has said it's up to Alabama voters, but he explained there's a difference between the allegations against Moore and the allegations against Franken because the accusers of Moore claimed he preyed on them while they were underage.

"If Al Franken has been involved in this kind of activity as a senator that's problematic," Cassidy told Fox radio last week. "On the other hand, there is a difference between a 14-year-old girl and an adult female, I will say that."

Why the #MeToo Moment Should Be Ready for a Backlash

Why the #MeToo Moment Should Be Ready for a Backlash
As a much-needed reckoning happens in the workplace, look to college campuses for a note of caution.
December 10, 2017


In the final five years of his presidency, Barack Obama’s administration undertook a worthy and bold challenge: the elimination of sexual assault on campuses. In fact, Obama’s team had a much more ambitious goal in mind. Vice President Joe Biden, the point person for the campus initiative, said at the end of his term that the administration was seeking “to fundamentally change the culture around sexual assault”—everywhere. New rules of sexual engagement between college students were written at the directive of the administration, but top Obama officials said they wanted these to be applied in the workplace and beyond. “You’re going to change the workplaces you work in,” Tina Tchen, director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, said at a 2016 event honoring campus sexual assault activists. “You’re going to raise your sons and daughters differently.”

They expected this transformation to take years. But with the daily toppling of powerful men who have committed sexual violations in Hollywood, the media, Congress and more, these changes have become seismic. The silenced have been given voice, and their testimony has resulted in the swift professional demise of perpetrators. Shocking descriptions of the behavior of powerful men have shown that it’s not universally understood that it’s unacceptable to display one’s genitals at work or to sexually abuse colleagues.

We now have an opportunity for profound reform, for women and men to join together to treat each other with dignity and respect. But as this unexpected revolution unfolds, we should also keep in mind the dangers of creating new injustices in the service of correcting old ones.

For that, it’s useful to look at how reforms played out on campus, where, unfortunately, many of the Obama administration’s good intentions went awry. Among the principles and polices that have become entrenched at schools—and are now spilling out into the wider world—are the beliefs that accusers are virtually always telling the truth; that the urgency to take action is more important than fair procedures; that we shouldn’t make distinctions between criminal acts and boorishness; and that predatory male behavior is ubiquitous. These beliefs have resulted in many campus cases in which the accused was treated with fundamental unfairness, spawning a legal subspecialty of suing schools on behalf of these young men. Examining what happened on campuses shows where the politics and social rules of interaction between the sexes might be headed—and how to avoid making the same mistakes on a larger scale.

Lots of snip - long article; very good.

Conclusion: The movement to stop sexual harassment in the workplace will eventually move past this moment of shocking allegations against famous men, and should soon focus on the many nonfamous people in quotidian circumstances. But top news organizations are not likely to provide as much due diligence about those cases. No doubt many disputes will more resemble those on campus, in that the charges will be about ambiguous situations for which there is little evidence. This amazing moment has a chance to be truly transformative. But it could also go off track if all accusations are taken on faith, if due process is seen as an impediment rather than a requirement and an underpinning of justice, and if men and women grow wary of each other in the workplace. As Laura Kipnis, a feminist professor at Northwestern, writes in her book, Unwanted Advances, “I can think of no better way to subjugate women than to convince us that assault is around every corner.”

Much more at link

Look what I just found in a comment on Senator Gillibrand's FB page:

Someone posted this quote from Amy Siskind in a comment on Gillibrand's FB page:

"Wouldn’t it be powerful if tomorrow the 33 US Senators who called on Al Franken to resign called a press conference and called for Senate hearings on allegations of sexual assault by Donald Trump."

Posted as a graphic on her FB page, but I can't get the graphic to post.

She is really taking the heat for leading the charge on Franken. One poster saying that now it's coming out that Roger Stone was behind the attack, and telling her to "get busy and get Franken back in the senate."

She has a video on ending forced arbitration at the top of her page , and the comments under that are nearly all against her action with Franken.


Edited to add:
I hope a lot of people email/tweet/post this article to the 33 senators, or at least their own, if they are among the 33. I plan to email it to mine. It sums up the whole thing beautifully and explains why this action was so damaging, both in general and to Dems specifically:

Courtesy of spooky3 in this thread:

And tell them to walk it back!
And that Tweeden and Don Jr. are long time twitter buddies.

So what happens next time there's a smear job on a Dem congressman, now that Rs know how easy it is?

Just saying...Will they stop with Franken? Why should they? This climate is ripe for set-ups. And how will Dems react the next time? Is this a precedent? Precedents are hard to walk back.

This has weakened, not strengthened, the MeToo movement. No one but the right wing wins from this. And such an easy win.
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